It may not be business as usual, but one local entrepreneur has put a spin on a favourite night-out activity, simultaneously making it easier for people to connect through artwork.
Carey McClement, owner of Lucy Pearlle Studio and Vintage Market in Wellesley, has started virtual paint parties, taking the famed paint night and bringing it into the social distancing world of online. The move was prompted by the cancellation of all the classes and parties she’d booked, activities no longer permitted under regulations to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“When COVID-19 came in place I was fully booked for birthday parties and different types of paint classes and art classes and whatnot in my event space,” said McClement. “So what I decided to do was to kind of take a spin on that (paint night) and I started packaging all of the supplies you would need for those types of events and then I deliver it to your house and I do virtual parties.”
She says because she falls into the three per cent of the population that is not able to receive assistance for her business during this time –and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit was not enough to allow her to stop working – she needed to find a way to pivot her business into something that worked during the current social climate brought on by the crisis.
Prior to this, she did not really focus on the big paint night parties that have become popular over the last few years. Instead hers were smaller in scale, focusing on birthdays, families and corporate events.
When COVID-19 first hit and she was forced to close her shop, McClement started making craft boxes for kids as a way for them to have something to do while they’re at home all day long. From there it grew and in two weeks she has sold more than 500 craft boxes. When word got out about the boxes, someone reached out about doing the paint parties.
Her process for preparing the paint party is for the host to get in touch with her and discuss a price and the type of artwork they’d like to do. From there all the participants get in touch with her to give their address so the kit – which includes a canvas, paint, brushes and information on accessing the video chat – can be delivered.
“When I deliver the boxes they’re all wrapped up and they have an invite on the top,” said McClement. “So when we first get on the call, I introduce them to what the project is. So other than the host – unless she’s shared it – the guests don’t really know what they’re in for; it’s like a surprise.”
She says she plans on hosting about two parties per week and will continue for as long as there’s interest.
Eventually McClement plans on expanding the virtual paint parties to outside the Woolwich and Wellesley area by shipping packages to participants. She also plans on starting virtual lessons on furniture restoration.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 519-656-2727.